Johnny Sexton has spoken of the perceived rivalry between himself and Joey Carbery, his role in the latter's move to Munster and a text conversation after their on-pitch fracas during Munster-Leinster.
Sexton was in studio prior to Ireland fly to Japan for World Cup 2019, and opened up on the situation between himself and Carbery that has become a theme in recent Leinster and Ireland squads.
It was in the context of Sexton playing second-fiddle to Ronan O'Gara when he was coming through, that coloured his approach to Carbery within both Leinster and Ireland.
"That is what I've got to learn [from prior experience with O'Gara.] I wouldn't change anything from all of my career.
"When we even talk about those lows, they helped me do things that I achieved in later years. As much as you would like to go and change them, they are part of you.
"What I have to take now is focusing on myself. If Joey keeps improving, and Joe, Andy or the next coach says 'We are going with Joey,' then if I have given my all and focused on myself in trying to improve, and Joey takes the number ten jersey, then I can live with myself."
Johnny was also keen to emphasise their personal relationship, given the nature that these conversations often gain their own momentum in fan and media circles.
"I get on really well with Joey, you have to remember that we were team-mates with Leinster not so long ago, playing in the same team.
"It was Stuart [Lancaster's] call that he wanted two guys that can play either side of the ball, and either side of the ruck, to make our attack even better.
"I would have talked to him around things that I wanted from him, and how I can get [him] into the game more.
"We were great. He was bouncing stuff off me when he was deciding to stay or go - I said 'give me a couple more years in Leinster!'," Sexton says with tongue-firmly-in-cheek.
Sexton was also able to call on some personal experiences to help Carbery reach a decision, ultimately of his own accord.
"I just said ' You will make whatever decision you make right, post-decision," said Sexton of Carbery's decision to go to Munster to pursue his career at ten.
"It was like me going to Racing, you make it the right decision by how you go after it."
Sexton also spoke of the coming-together between Carbery and him at their meeting in the Pro 14 post-move.
"A lot was made about that Munster game, but so much else has happened in Munster and Leinster games - it was just because it was me and him. I texted him after the game saying 'Look, it's blown up on my phone - you know it's nothing [personal.]'"
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